How to change your teenage daughter’s Instagram from damaging to nourishing!

About a year ago I saw that my teenage daughter had written on an Instagram post that  she was too fat for a new bikini. Of course this is bullshit and to prove a point I left a comment stating that everybody could wear a bikini and we went out and bought her one.

She confided in me and said she was fed up with being fat in comparison to people on her Instagram feed. URGH. The day I was dreading.

Comparison is the thief of joy

So, what to do when your first born says she’s fat? Telling her she isn’t fat just doesn’t cut it. I’m biased, of course, so I looked for a different technique.

We talked about comparing yourself to others on Instagram and how she would more than likely see herself as second rate. The grass is always greener, right? Besides, who on Instagram posts their worst pictures?

I decided to try and lead by example, after all I’m strong-willed, I’m independent, I don’t need other people’s validation to make my life complete, I don’t care how I look to others, it makes no difference to me what people think of me… but it didn’t work.

So, I started to think:

Am I part of the problem?

And I decided that I could be part of the problem. When we went shopping I would ask

Does my bum look big in this?

Or I’d say

These jeans definitely make my legs look fat.

I’d look in the mirror and say

I actually really hate my nose! It’s so BIG.

Was I actually reinforcing those perpetual stereotypes that female’s body’s matter to others or was it ok to admit there’s parts of you you dislike?  I’m working on this element of self-love and not judging myself for things I tell others don’t matter!! Instead, I’m working out with BodyBoss and all of my kids are joining in!! Success!

 

But what else can us parents of teenagers do to help them use Instagram in a more positive way?

Let’s just ban Instagram

Anybody with children will know that banning things is the worst way to tackle a problem. Whose child respects a ban? And what purpose does it actually serve?

It’s merely ignoring an issue that will undoubtedly cause more problems later. Remember drinking TwoDogs with your friends even though it was banned and putting that very drunk friend in the shower to sober her up?

We can recover from a hangover but the consequences of negative self image last a life time. Let’s tackle that problem NOW!

Celeste who?

Sometime last year I came across an Aussie comedian called Celeste Barber.  If you haven’t heard of her, read here and here and here and here and you can connect directly with her here too.

She takes the chronic piss out of perfect Instagram shots and recreates them with her own, not so subtle but hilarious alternatives.

A bit like real life takes on fake Hollywood.

But it still didn’t work. Not really. It made us all laugh but at the end of the day, Instagram was still there and doing the damage it had been doing all along.

This is when I had the idea that we can influence our teenager’s accounts. How? Let me explain!

Time for nourishment

By directly messaging our kids with positive examples of strong, independent, intelligent, active, literate, diverse, free thinking, free speaking, comedic, politically active, talented, don’t give a fuck women, we can encourage them to see a different side of Instagram.

Maybe we can encourage them that these are the women they should be following in a subtle but direct manner.

But where to start?

I analysed my own IG Feed that the majority of people I follow on Instagram are male landscape photographers, female chefs. male vegan athletes and that’s about it. Oh!

Sheesh! I guess I needed to diversify and consider the effect my IG was having on me too.

So I started looking for women that I considered inspirational, that I wanted to follow and that I thought would play a positive role in my online life.

I set about looking for strong minded women who were happy, confident, fit, nourished, politically minded, successful, fearless warriors!

But who?

Here’s who I found. In absolutely no particular order these are the women who I think are rocking it!

💘

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.That compass; our soul and heart; don’t want for anything except the fulfilment of itself. And let me tell you- that compass cares not for happiness, success or validation. It cares for connection, adventure, experiences, unconditional love, authentic relationships, purpose, contribution and compassion. If you want all the juice goodness life has on offer right now, then prioritise this. Prioritise managing your thinking. Learn to observe it and let it go. Prioritise stillness in your life. Prioritise joy, doing for the sake of experience not for an end result. Prioritise discipline – yes, if you do not value discipline then you are most definitely choosing the default of a shallow, short term gratification kinda of life; emptiness. Fulfilment and peace require the practice of undoing the image you have built up of yourself. This requires patience and persistence. But it’s that or a living hell in your head – you choose. And as EG said “You’re wishin’ too much, baby. You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be.”

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🍷👍

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Yesterday I went for a 5-mile-turned-7.5-mile run to exorcise my demons. I was having a pretty crappy morning with my anxiety and ended up quite shakey. I calmed myself down enough to get out and while we NEVER trust the first mile of a run, I soon settled in to an easy rhythm. My easy pace seems to be around 8.20-8.40 which is perfect as SUB4 is my goal in life and that pace would smash it. Anyway I got out, did my run, endorphins kicked in and I kicked my anxiety attack to the curb! So today if you’re struggling, see if you can get out and #runforyourmind – or just any exercise really. Centre yourself back in your body. When you focus on the simple things like putting one foot in front of the other, and seeing your part in this world is just one small part of an amazing tapestry, your situations will start to fall off your head and you can come back up for air! #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #headstogether #runforyourmind #whatifirunwithyou #anxiety #exercisevdepression #excercisevanxiety #runoutyourdemons #sweatisgood #running #runner #halfmarathon #halfmarathontraining #oxfordhalf #virginsport

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#MONDAYGOAL: You’re probably seeing this while scrolling through your feed. I encourage you to stop right now and take a deep breath. Think about the last person you talked to. Did you truly connect with that person? I’m making an effort today to put my energy towards making positive connections with people IRL. A little less scrolling, a little more true connecting. Comment below if you’ll commit to doing it too!

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It’s GO TIME!! “The Pants of Perspective: A 3,000 kilometre running adventure through the wilds of New Zealand 🇳🇿” is out now! Get your mitts on it now via Amazon. . I always get a little nervous the moment before I press publish on a blog post that feels a little close to my heart. There’s a part of me that tugs my fingers away from the keys and thinks that it would be easier, safer even, to keep the less-than-perfect parts of myself a secret. Times that feeling by 1,000 and you have the way I feel today. CRIKEY. . But then I remember… that if I’m encouraging, and even asking of others to head off on journeys in which they face down and tumble through things that make them feel afraid, then I must do the same. It’s go big or go home time, and nobody’s going home today. . So here it is! The result of many moons of blood, sweat and sitting still (who knew sitting still was so gosh darn difficult?!) It has been created by yours truly, but baked into it is help from two very fabulous editors, three draft readers, an illustrator, a formatter, a proof-reader and a designer. And that smells a lot like teamwork if you ask me. . I hope you’ll enjoy the characters, sights, sounds and stories that have made the final cut. From dancing alone on mountain tops, to mashing up my ankle in the middle of the bush and everything in between. There’s even a dollop of romance in there too. Ooo la la. . You’re going to have to forgive me as I bang on about the book for at least the next week – And likely (definitely) the next month. It’s my baby. I’m so excited to share it with you all after hours of solitude, that I might go a little overboard. . All that remains is to say a gigant-a-liocus THANK YOU for all your support! Please spread the word far and wide with anyone and everyone you think might benefit from a journey to the edge of capability. And here’s to the start of a new adventure together, of the literary kind… Yeeee haaawwww!!! . . #ukrunchat #bookstagram #newbook #adventurebook #authorsofinstagram #womensadventure #runchat #trailrunning #goodreads

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🌈 fusilli + true confession time. Do you ever get into a creative rut so deep you feel like you might not come out of it? I had about a monthlong spell where every idea fell flat, I lacked motivation to practice my craft, I let the trolls get me down, & frankly, I began to wonder if I would ever create & innovate again. I didn’t tell anyone because I had to go through the work motions anyway, & I was afraid that by giving it voice, other people would doubt me as much as I doubted myself. Luckily, the spell broke about a week ago & I’m riding the buoyant high of too many ideas & not enough time to execute them. This is my favorite place to exist, even if it’s stressful for other reasons. I’m sure we all have felt that sense of worthlessness, fear, or ordinariness, so why is it so hard to talk about when we’re actually in it? Wouldn’t sharing those feelings help us move past it faster? What do YOU do to get back on track when you’re A-game turns F-lame? The world would be a more compassionate place if we were all more candid about admitting to internal rough patches, & that starts with being honest with ourselves.

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3 weeks and 2 days #beautifultrauma

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“If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more” – Erica Jong love this quote! #RiskIt #herblankcanvas

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I was thrilled to join so many of you yesterday at LA’s #resistmarch

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10 ways to help Puerto Rico- via Fast Company, “Hurricane Maria, the fifth-strongest storm to ever hit the United States, roared through Puerto Rico last week, flattening the island. The 3.4 million Americans citizens who live there had homes destroyed, streets flooded, power grids decimated, widespread internet outages, and dams teetering on the brink of collapse, leaving Puerto Rico in shambles. The bulk of the island doesn’t have water to drink and can’t even call for help because only 25% of cellphone towers survived the storm.” The people in Puerto Rico need help to survive and they need it now. We can no longer rely on our appointed “leader” to take care of Americans in these disasters. The second screenshot in this swipe details an easy way to donate via text – please please give

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#Repost @greggdelmanphoto ・・・ @mistyonpointe love this. #ballet #beautiful #dance 📷 @greggdelmanphoto

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Sending direct IG messages

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Instagram has a bad rep

Instagram has a bad reputation for damaging (teenage girl’s) mental health but I really hope here I’ve managed to convince you that it doesn’t have to be that way!

Instagram feeds are a reflection of the people you chose to follow. Make sure yours says the right thing about you!

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Instagram has a pretty bad rep for damaging teenage girl's mental health so I set about working out how we could combat that. How can we make Instagram a more positive place for our kids? It turns out I didn't need to make it positive, I just needed to turn my daughter's feed into something it wasn't already. Here's how I did it.

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